Connectedness: challenges, research impact, and the new way to best enable it at your research organization

By Elizabeth Midgorden posted 10-01-2020 21:00

  


Reposted blog by Adam Mertz, VP of Marketing. We are always interested in highlighting the stories of our customers. If you are interested in sharing your perspective, let us know. 
by Adam Mertz, VP of Marketing

Back in 1994, Chris Harker was researching a rare blood disorder at Oregon Health & Science University when he had a frustrating realization: all the time he spent printing, filling out, and faxing in proposal-related forms was time he could have spent on actual research! Why did paperwork take so long? 

That’s when Cayuse and its very first product, 424 (now called Proposals), was born. It was a fast, electronic way to submit error-free proposals to grants.gov, saving research teams time they could put toward science.

Fast forward 26 years…

Research administration in 2020

This diagram highlights the complexity and disconnections between people and systems today.  So although research teams submit more than 28,000 proposals each year using Cayuse and our community of customers has grown, so have the challenges that researchers face. Chris Harker’s initial goal was to simplify proposal submission, but today, research teams face many additional issues, like:

  • Pulling reports from hard-to-access databases
  • Figuring out when award funding will run out
  • Managing subrecipients
  • Running efficient protocol review committee meetings
  • Making sure animal research is compliant
  • Using past and current proposal info to optimize future research portfolio management strategies

Too many systems

Along with all these new challenges, many systems have cropped up to address them all. Your organization probably uses ERP, payroll, HR, and accounting systems, plus additional systems for submitting protocols, tracking funding use, scheduling animal research techs, submitting COI disclosure forms, and billing research facility use (just to name a few). Those systems might be paper-based, homegrown software, third-party software, or a combination, with as many passwords and usernames to keep track of, or paper files to locate. 

There are many point solutions (those that focus on one goal, like managing IRB protocols or finding awards) and a few full-suite systems, but almost always, those systems were not built to easily share data. That translates to duplicate data entry and possible errors.

This disconnectedness between systems, data, and people can make managing and optimizing processes a daunting task. It’s like having 50 browser tabs open, and you can barely keep track of what you’re looking for! Managing research in 2020 is hard! It’s too complicated, and it takes too long. Those are critical issues we’re dedicated to solving because we believe that empowering connected research and sponsored projects for our partner organizations can lead to some of the greatest impacts on science, discovery and society.

To make that possible, we provide solutions for the four main challenges in research administration, as seen in the following diagram: 

This hierarchy diagram also highlights our perspective that some challenges can be addressed with point solutions and full suites, but unless those full suites are built on a technology platform designed to have all data in one place and make integrations easy, it will severely limit research leaders’ ability to reach the ultimate goal: driving world class, data-driven research portfolio management. 


One cloud-based research platform connecting a full suite of research apps

As we officially launched our connected, cloud-based research platform supporting our full-suite approach, we also updated our product branding. After all, over the past 26 years, Cayuse grew from one product to 18! Every new app added was thoughtfully considered so we could meet more of our customer needs across the entire research lifecycle and provide a truly connected, cloud-based full research suite. 

But we needed to simplify things and visually represent how the platform is enabling this full suite approach. As you can see below, our apps fall into four main categories: pre-award, post-award, risk management (aka compliance), and resource management (aka animal research facilities):

Moving forward, our customers will enjoy a seamless research suite with just one login and one dashboard. We built the Cayuse platform to connect and integrate not only your Cayuse apps—so you don’t have to enter data twice in any of them—but to also easily connect to ALL other systems, even other third-party research systems your organization uses. Other full-suite solutions ultimately don’t easily connect the apps in their suite, let alone make it easy to connect to other, third-party apps. We already have a lot of experience integrating our products with various ERPs and payroll systems, and we plan to do even more. 

Ultimately, you shouldn’t have to look in a bunch of different places to do your job. The Cayuse platform will be your one-stop shop for all of the tools and information you need. It’s a user-centric launchpad for every role in your research organization, whether a research administrator, compliance director, or principal investigator.


More descriptive, non-acronym app names

As we continue focusing on making apps that are easy to use, we also wanted to eliminate confusion for global research teams and executives. For example, in Canada, IRB is called REB (Research Ethics Board), so our IRB product name needed to change to something more universal like Human Ethics, its new name. We hope you find our new app names to be more straightforward and easier to understand for all.

 
A critical benefit for you: centralized data

One of the best things about the Cayuse platform is that all of your data lives in one place. Decision-makers can see everything they need, both at a high-level overview and drilling down into the details when necessary. This is absolutely critical if you want to effectively analyze and optimize your research portfolio. 

We’re excited to be the first vendor in the research administration space who’s intentionally built our apps to support this approach and make reporting easy. We believe our platform will lead to faster and even more informed decisions so research organizations can invest their time and energy wisely. With all of our apps integrated, it’s easier than ever to pull standard and custom reports in real time:

I hope this post provided insight into how we at Cayuse see the biggest challenges in research today, how they revolve so much around disconnectedness, and how we are uniquely approaching solutions to these challenges. The reason Cayuse exists is to empower connected research, and we’ll spend every waking minute helping you adapt to the changing research landscape so you can succeed for the next decade and beyond.

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